I know this girl. She used to go the gym 5 days a week. Alternating cardio machines for 90 mins. She wasn't overweight. But neither was she "toned" as she desired. She was skinny & fat.
Yes that exists: skinny & fat. That's how you become when you don't give your body the nutrition it needs for recovery. Your body burns muscles & holds fat.
I told her once to get into strength training & eat more healthy. But I got the classic response: "I don't want to end up bulky & muscular like a man".
You Won't Get Bulky. Remember: your bodyweight depends on the amount of calories you eat & expend. Strength training will make you gain muscle & lose fat. But you'll stay at the same bodyweight unless you start eating more.
Women have lower testosterone levels than men. Muscle mass & strength depend on your testosterone levels. The only way women can get as muscular as man is by using steroids or pro-hormones.
Benefits for Women. I wrote about the reasons to starts strength training in the past. They're the same for women:
- Less Fat. More muscles, decreased body fat at the same bodyweight.
- Balanced Physique. Many women are skinny in the upperbody & bulky in their legs. Strength training will balance your physique.
- Increased Bone Density. Lifting weights prevents osteoporosis.
- Blood Circulation. Helps combat cellulites on thighs & glutes.
- More strength. Pregnancy, holding baby, householdery,... gets easier.
- Fun. Women really like sports from my experience, especially when they have fun while getting results.
- Physical Activity. Whether it is strength training or something else: you need physical activity to stay "sane".
How Women Should Train. Same as men. Same exercises. Same sets & reps. Same programs. If your goal is toning up & losing fat, strength is your tool.
Women's Results. The difference in testosterone levels will influence the results you'll achieve as a woman. In general:
- Increased muscle mass. But less than a man.
- Decreased body fat. 16% for women is the same as 10% for men.
- Increased strength. But again less than a man.